By: SHEKHAR MASTA
Shimla, Himachal Pradesh: The Himachal Pradesh government has for long been struggling to find a solution to monkey menace in the state. Farmers have for long been complaining about the havoc these simians create those related to the tourist industry too have been victims in a way. The government at one time imposed a ban on feeding these descendents of Hanuman but it seems people are too devoted to the monkey god to be deterred. But now moneys are turning out to be serious business (and that means business) that could yield some dollars to the Himachal government. The Tajikistan government has offered to import monkeys from the Himalayan state. Himachal has the largest monkey population, about 10 lakh, and the forest department has already rounded up some 500 monkeys to reap in dividends.
Monkeys as such have also become a matter of concern for the Supreme Court of India. These simians, virtually ruling the corridors of power in Delhi and playing the cat-and-mouse game with hundreds of households in the Capital’s residential areas, are facing imminent transportation to nearby states. To say that monkey sena has terrorised bureaucrats wouldn’t be an overstatement. Once they ripped apart top-secret defence documents. In another instance, they were found enjoying the merry-go-round using the empty revolving office chairs.
There are several such stories. Residents also complain of assault and plundering of their domestic gadgets like refrigerators. Now, the Supreme Court has ordered that 300 monkeys nabbed in Delhi would be shifted to the BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh. Recently, Delhi announced an award of Rs 1,000 each for catching a stray cow. Monkeys and cows are animals that are revered by a large number of hardcore Hindus. Both these animals are quite dear to religious stalwarts. They are as much vocal against simians’ posting to central India’s forests as much as cows being caged.
Monkeys have a sense of justice. A research conducted in the US says monkeys don’t lose their tempers against their own partners and prefer to mind their own business unless their involvement is necessitated due to certain circumstances. But, monkey watchers in India might differ with this US research. Here, monkeys are known for intimidating passers-by by snatching sweets from their hands and harassing children. The court’s mandate may bring cheer to the harassed lot.